Lowestoft engineer failed to pay more than £100,000 in tax

Ipswich Crown Court.

Ipswich Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk engineer who 'buried his head in the sand' and failed to pay more than £100,000 in tax over a period of eight years has been given a suspended 20-month prison sentence.

Andrew Stebbing, who was earning £50,000 per annum as an engineer on a fishing vessel for Macduff Shellfish, didn't declare his income to HM Revenue and Customs between 2006 and 2014, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Matthew McNiff, for Stebbing, said the tax his client had evaded hadn't been used to maintain a 'high or excessive' standard of living and had 'made life just a little easier'.

Stebbing, 57, of Gresham Close, Oulton Broad, admitted two offences of being concerned in the fraudulent evasion of income tax and a similar offence in relation to national insurance.

Sentencing him to a 20-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, Judge John Devaux said there was a better prospect of the money being recouped if he passed a sentence which would allow Stebbing to continue working.

In addition to the suspended sentence, Stebbing was ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work in the community.

A hearing under the proceeds of crime act will take place at court at a later date.

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Mr McNiff said Stebbing was in work and was motivated to repay the money.

'This was not money used to maintain a high or excessive standard of living. The retention of the money made life just a little bit easier,' he told the crown court.

'He buried his head very deep and pretended things would go away,' said Mr McNiff.

He said Stebbing had co-operated during the investigation and had made full admissions at an early stage of the proceedings.

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